Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: James D. Mardock
Peer Reviewed

Henry V (Folio 1, 1623)


1
Enter Prologue.
O For a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
The brightest Heauen of Inuention:
A Kingdome for a Stage, Princes to Act,
5And Monarchs to behold the swelling Scene.
Then should the Warlike Harry, like himselfe,
Assume the Port of Mars, and at his heeles
( Leasht in, like Hounds) should Famine, Sword, and Fire
Crouch for employment. But pardon, Gentles all:
10The flat vnraysed Spirits, that hath dar'd,
On this vnworthy Scaffold, to bring forth
So great an Obiect. Can this Cock-Pit hold
The vastie fields of France? Or may we cramme
Within this Woodden O. the very Caskes
15That did affright the Ayre at Agincourt?
O pardon: since a crooked Figure may
Attest in little place a Million,
And let vs, Cyphers to this great Accompt,
On your imaginarie Forces worke.
20Suppose within the Girdle of these Walls
Are now confin'd two mightie Monarchies,
Whose high, vp-reared, and abutting Fronts,
The perillous narrow Ocean parts asunder.
Peece out our imperfections with your thoughts:
25Into a thousand parts diuide one Man,
And make imaginarie Puissance.
Thinke when we talke of Horses, that you see them
Printing their prowd Hoofes i'th' receiuing Earth:
For 'tis your thoughts that now must deck our Kings,
30Carry them here and there: Iumping o're Times;
Turning th'accomplishment of many yeeres
Into an Howre-glasse: for the which supplie,
Admit me Chorus to this Historie;
Who Prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
35Gently to heare, kindly to iudge our Play.
Exit.